Skip to main content

Site Key Topics Guide

Elements of Peace Obstacles to Peace
Human Psychology and Peace The Nature of Reality
The Climate Change Scam The Science of Global Warming

scientific method

Another shameless betrayal of science - this time at University College, London

Christopher Monckton of Brenchley draws our attention to another highly-paid individual in a position of trust who had taken the easy way out when called upon to stand up for principles.

In the U.S. we have had a number of attacks in which police have been murdered in the course of their duty. Whether there was a good reason for the anger of the murderer, there was no justification for this response. But my point is this: We still see American police out on the street doing their duty, even though doing so might cost them their lives.

But there is no such edifying example from Professor John Butterworth, "the useless bureaucrat in charge of the College’s department of Physics and Astronomy", as Monckton calls him. Faced with protests about some colleagues running a seminar on climate change - but one (HORROR!) at which a skeptical eye would be cast upon the mainstream viewpoint - the cowardly Butterworth asked the organiser to cancel his booking.

Compare: Ordinary police continue to risk their actual rives to do their job; but Butterworth, in a much more privileged and responsible position, cannot even risk some criticism.

Both butterworth and the entire UCL have trashed their reputations over this.

There is a more general point to be made here.

The science BS meter.

Over at WUWT someone made a comment:

NZ Willy February 21, 2016 at 10:18 am

This is just the climate equivalent of astronomy’s “dark matter”. The technique is, when evidence refutes your theory, don’t change the theory, but instead announce a new kind of phenomenon — previously unheard of and scientifically unmodelled — and nest it into your theory and proclaim that it makes your theory even stronger! My BS meter is broken now from overloading.

Agreed. Background radiation too flat? The universe suddenly inflated for no reason to flatten it out. Galaxies spin too fast? Must be dark matter. Universe receding too quickly? Must be dark energy. What are these things? How do they fit into the standard particle model (itself a massive parameter-fixing exercise)? No idea. But guess what! IT’S TRUE! There was inflation, there’s dark matter, dark energy! Aren’t cosmologists wonderful! /sarc

Posted on Scott Adams' Blog

Scott Adams is trying to figure out which side of politics is less rational. But he assumes the answer to his question before he even gets started when he wrote:

Climate Change Claim 1: Human activity plus natural factors are changing the climate in ways that could be calamitous.

Verdict: True. The overwhelming majority of credible scientists agree.

Scott needs a lesson in science. I replied:

Your climate change claim 1 verdict assumes that one side is right and the other wrong, and it does so on the basis of popular consensus, which plays no part in science (so I won't mention the 30,000 scientists who signed a letter saying otherwise). Science is built, not on consensus but on evidence, hypotheses, and testing. Let me illustrate by summarising the entire global warming debate in a few sentences..

The global warming theory is that doubling CO2 will cause something "around" a degree C warming. A bit more, a bit less, but something thereabouts.

Everyone agrees. Everyone sane, that is, both alarmists and skeptics alike.

But the alarmist theory goes on as follows: Yes, but that ~1C will cause more evaporation from the oceans, and H2O is a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, so the 1C gets multiplied 2,3, 4, 6, you name it, times, causing catastrophic warming of 4C, 6C, whatever hairy scary figure you care to pick.

That's it. The difference is between skeptics who say CO2 causes 1C warming and alarmists who say it causes a multiplied amount limited only by how frightened they want you to be today.

So, how to test it?

Real Science Debates Are Not Rare

Reposted from Wattsupwiththat

This post from is, IMHO, one of the most important and insightful essays about science ever to appear. It is far too important to be lost amongst the many other posts on the very popular site by Anthony Watts. In the hope that it gets seen some more, I repost it here.

Guest Post by Dr. Robert G. Brown

The following is an “elevated comment” appearing originally in the comments to “A Rare Debate on the ‘Settled Science’ of Climate Change”, a guest essay by Steve Goreham. It is RG Brown’s reply to the Steven Mosher comment partially quoted at the beginning of the essay. This essay has been lightly edited by occasional WUWT contributor Kip Hansen with the author’s permission and subsequently slightly modified with a postscript by RGB.


October 3, 2014 at 8:41 am

“…debates are rare because science is not a debate, or more specifically, science does not proceed or advance by verbal debates in front of audiences. You can win a debate and be wrong about the science. Debates prove one thing. Folks who engage in them don’t get it, folks who demand them don’t get it and folks who attend them don’t get it”.

Steven Mosher – comment

Um, Steven [Steven Mosher], it is pretty clear that you’ve never been to a major physics meeting that had a section presenting some unsettled science where the organizers had set up two or more scientists with entirely opposing views to give invited talks and participate in a panel just like the one presented. This isn’t “rare”, it is very nearly standard operating procedure to avoid giving the impression that the organizers are favoring one side or the other of the debate. I have not only attended meetings of this sort, I’ve been one of the two parties directly on the firing line (the topic of discussion was a bit esoteric — whether or not a particular expansion of the Green’s function for the Helmholtz or time-independent Schrodinger equation, which comes with a restriction that one argument must be strictly greater than the other in order for the expansion to converge, could be used to integrate over cells that de facto required the expansion to be used out of order). Sounds a bit, err, “mathy”, right, but would you believe that the debate grew so heated that we were almost (most cordially :-) shouting at each other by the end? And not just the primary participants — members of the packed-room audience were up, gesticulating, making pithy observations, validating parts of the math.

What Is a Scientist?

I blog less often than I would like, and sadly it often happens because I am spurred into action by something ridiculous. So it is today. In a nonsense piece called "Should Scientists go on strike over climate change?", the author writes:

I hesitate to make an estimate, but a brief Google search suggests there are approximately (depending on definitions) six million ‘Scientists’ in the world.

At present, these six million or so Scientists do not have what Marx and Engels referred to as ‘class consciousness’, but they have a great deal to unite around; a shared commitment to certain methodologies, principles, values and practices and a worldview that respects appropriate responses to data and evidence.

From this shared sense of identity and purpose they would generally respect the verdict of their climatologist colleagues (better not to say ‘comrades’…) that climate change is happening because of what governments are allowing people and businesses to do, and that we ought to ‘do something’ rapidly to change that.

I notice he capitalises "Scientist". Capitalisation is used to make something a name rather than a plain descriptor. A scientist is someone who applies the scientific method to discover truth. But who knows what a "Scientist" is? Because scientists certainly do not and should not share a "class consciousness" (a concept odious enough in any context, but vastly more so here). Scientists try to disprove each others' work, because that way, the thing they all respect, truth, is more likely to emerge because the false notions will fail while the correct ones will withstand all challenges.

Is the Global Warming Theory Scientific?

A long article has been released with many quotes from the core group of global warming alarmist 'scientists'. Why do I quote that word? - because so far none of them have told us, the intelligent public, a full, proper, scientifically argued case giving evidence of four things:

  1. dangerous,
  2. human-emitted,
  3. carbon-dioxide-caused,
  4. global warming is taking place.

In other words, there are four propositions that must all be substantiated with credible evidence before a scientific theory exists that there is anything to fear from carbon dioxide. My take on the status of these four is: (1) is certainly false, (2) uncertain, (3) most likely largely false, and (4) most likely true, but not as large as it has been represented. But this post is not about the correctness of the theory, but the more basic question whether it is a scientific theory at all.

I think most people know of the concept that scientific theories must be falsifiable. There are a lot of subtleties around that idea that need not concern us now, but we can use it as a rough test for good science. Remember, good science doesn't have to be correct - a theory proposed, tested properly, and rejected for making incorrect predictions is still an exercise in good science, even if it failed to come up with an advance. And contrariwise, a wild guess shoved down people's throats by force without any attempt to test against reality is bad science, even if by some chance the guess happened to be correct.

So we see that the question of whether this is good science is not the same as the question whether it is correct (although the two are obviously related).

So how does the CAGW theory stack up?

A Request for the Science of AGW Alarmism

An incisive comment posted by peter_dtm in answer to a typically naive GW piece at the Telegraph:

Comment by peter_dtm:

Another ecofascist telling us what they know we believe

and as wrong as they always are.

how to put this in a way you can understand - bearing in mind that there are MILLIONS of people (including scientists; engineers; financiers and even some politicians) who do not BELIEVE in CAGW. If you trouble yourself to read the blogs like WUWT and other assorted 'denialist' sites you would discover a vast range of thoughts - and very little belief. And lots of demands for being shown the SCIENCE behind the hypothesis.

I believe that most people consider the ecofacists to be the ones in denial.

  1. The climate changes
  2. It always has
  3. Man affects the climate
  4. CO2 and other gases stop the earth freezing
  5. CO2 and other gases stop the earth overheating
  6. The atmosphere (and therefore the climate) is a complex system.
  7. If you build a model with parameter x as a key variable; than varying parameter x will change the model as this is what the model is designed to do.
  8. The climate is so complex we do not have even a first order approximation of how it works.

Steve McIntyre recognised as a thought leader

Steve McIntyre, one of the two researchers who exposed the faulty statistics behind the infamous "hockey stick" temperature curve which attempted to write the medieval warm period and the little ice age from the pages of history, has been recognised by New Statesman as one of the top 50 "People Who Matter 2010".

Congratulations Steve. Those who, like me, came late to the global warming question, owe a great debt to you and Ross McKitrick for your tireless work in the face of astonishing and tenacious obstructionism in getting the raw data needed to do a detailed analysis. Steve runs his own blog on climate science at

But we can't have an honour going with grace and good humour to someone who opposes the consensus, can we? New Statesman just had to find a way to spoil it somehow. Here's their "acknowledgement" of Steve's invaluable work:

And the World Descends into the New Dark Age

This story is being widely reported around the media, but it needs reporting some more. Everyone's future happiness and freedom depends on taking a lesson from this disgrace.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America have published a "refereed" "paper" whose sole purpose is to assassinate the reputations of scientists who do not agree wholeheartedly with the alarmist global warming position. As Anthony Watts puts it:

It doesn’t get much uglier than this. A stasi-esque master list of skeptical scientists and bloggers, with ratings put together by a “scientist” that rants against the very people he rates on his blog. Meet the author, Jim Prall here. And he uses this for a peer reviewed paper. What next? Will we have to wear yellow badges to climate science conferences?

Nature: You can NOT be serious!

"Nature", which imagines itself to be the international weekly journal of science, published an absurd piece trying to make out that the bullies in the global warming scare movement are in fact a naive group of timid waifs being rolled over by a powerful movement that dominates the media. Try telling that to David Bellamy, one of the best and most popular media biologists, banned from TV for his disbelief in anthropogenic global warming!

There's a really good deconstruction of Nature's cowardly piece over here on Talking About the Weather, but a few additional remarks are in order. To give you the flavour of the thing, here's a sample of the Nature article:

Syndicate content